Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday Pop!

It's here, today is my dad's 70th birthday! 70!!!!!! I could not be more excited for their visit this weekend and to have the chance to celebrate with the whole family.  

Pop, you have been such an amazing friend and role model, thank you for everything that you do.  I can't wait to see you tomorrow and there will be a glass of wine and lemon treat waiting with your name on it.  So much love for such an amazing man, love you Pop! Happy Birthday!!!

And here's Las Mananitas by Los Tres Aces, a tradition for every birthday in our family!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dessert Ideas For Dad's 70th

Ok, so phase two of party planning for me is the dessert.  I've mentioned before that my dad is not big on sweets, not a huge chocolate guy, he likes two things...lemon and cookies.  A few years back I made him lemon sandwich cookies with blueberry butter cream and those have been on his request list for a while along with my lemon bars.  

Normally for father's day or my dad's birthday I would make lemon bars in a tart pan or an individual lemon meringue pie, one of his other favorites.  However, this year turning 70 we gotta do a little more, right?  So I am making a big beautiful fluffy lemon meringue pie, my strawberry crumble tart (per his request since it's a new recipe) and lemon blossom cupcakes. 

Part of the challenge is picking desserts that can be made day of, the meringue pie, and ones that can be made in advance, the cupcakes, since the weekend will be packed with our family reunion, company, and decorating.  I will say the cupcakes are not normally my style, a lot of box mix a la Paula Dean but whenever I have made them people go crazy, they are so easy, and they stay moist for at least two days so give them a try is you're in a hurry. 

lemon meringue pie, lemon blossom cupcakes

Monday, June 25, 2012

Party Decoration Ideas

(Mom keep dad away from the blog this week)

My dad's 70th birthday is this week, 70!  I can hardly believe it.  This year his birthday coincides with our family reunion this Saturday so we have decided to have a small family party for him on Sunday.  My dad is not an over the top kind of guy, never likes anything fancy or extravagant.  But still it's 70, we can't let it go by without a few flourishes.  

Because I have more free time on my hands that I know what to do with I have been looking all over for great decorating ideas and I have to say most of them came from Oh Happy Day!  I now have a new love for crepe paper which let me tell you is not easy to find in stores so I ordered all of mine here and I think I may have gone a little over the top.  But what can I say, I am dying to make that fluffy garland!  Also what a great ideas is that corner full of color and the age put together in photos?  

So check back this week for more party ideas, I've still got desserts and booze to think about!

lanterns, garland, fans, 50

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chocolate Food Porn

Of all my pins on Pinterest this one has gotten some of the most action.  Have you been to Kitsch in the Kitchen ?  If you love baking and food photography like I do then you have to check it out.  I feel like I gain 10 pounds every time I visit the blog but I love it!  

I have decided that all the art work in my new craft room/book nook is going to be food porn.  I'll probably be hungry all the time but there is just something about food photography that makes me so happy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Yay Pop!

Yep, this is my dad and the image that I'm pretty sure still worries Mac sometimes.  In reality this is my dad teaching me to make sangria and the photo is just right place right time.  I couldn't have asked for a better father, supporting me in whatever I decided to take on.  Encouraging me to do puzzles as a child to increase my patience (that one kinda worked), teaching me how to speak Spanish, build a deck, jump my car the six times the battery died in college...he taught me always to act like a lady but still included me in any projects he and my brothers were working on.  Thank you Pop for removing splinters, getting spiders out of my bedroom, taking that week off work the time I got chickenpox (and keeping me from scaring), thank you Pop for being my dad! Xoxoxox   

Friday, June 15, 2012

Craving Pumpkin

I know it's summer and not at all pumpkin season but I have been craving pumpkin the last two days.  I think it must be all the June gloom we've been having here along the coast.  Looking outside my window this week you would swear it was October.  So now in the beginning of summer I am craving fuzzy scarves and pumpkin everything.  Chances are by the end of the day I'll be listening to the You've Got Mail Soundtrack and whipping up a batch of pumpkin biscotti.  

Pumpkin donuts, biscotti, cupcake

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strawberry Crumble Tart

Ok, so I guess it's technically more of a pie than a tart but I say when you're making up a recipe you can call it what you want, right?  I was walking around farmer's market last week and all the summer fruits were just calling to me.  When I came across three basketsts of strawberries for $5.00 I knew exactly what I wanted to make for an evening with friends...a strawberry pie with a crumble top and shortbread tart crust. Is it just me or are some things just better with a crumble topping? 

Beautiful right?

When I got home I went through some of my favorite baking books, looked through my cupboards and farmers market finds and put this recipe together.  The strawberries were so sweet I knew I didn't want to use too much sugar, I hate when something is too sweet and you can't taste the fruit.  I also wanted used a bit of ginger and orange zest to give it a little deeper flavor. 

The tart was a hit with my friends and I think I may be making it again for my dad's 70th birthday party later this month. Give it a try, so simple!

Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350

Combine dry ingredients and sugars mix in butter with a fork or by hand.  Dough will be slightly sandy.  Pres into tart pan or 9" pie pan.  Bake for 10 minutes then set it aside to rest while you prepare the filling and topping.  

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter

Combine dry ingredients and sugar then work in butter until small lumps form.  Set aside.  

Strawberry Filling:

  • 3 baskets fresh strawberries chopped (some of my strawberries accidentally fell into my mouth before making it in the pie)
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tbs corn starch

Preheat oven to 400

Toss strawberries with sugars and orange zest, add in ginger and corn starch last.  Pour filling into tart shell then evenly top with crumble topping.  Bake the tart at 400 for 8 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling begins to bubble and topping turns golden.

Serve it up and enjoy all the yummy noises your friends will make!  

It didn't even last a day

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Movie Night

Last night Mac and I had all kinds of plans for a healthy grilled forward to me taking too long at the gym, Trader Joe's is closed and so are most restaurants in the neighborhood.  So we completely changed our plans decided to get "skinny" pizza, a couple of beers, and have a Bourne Identity movie marathon.  Don't you just love when your plans go wrong and something different but better ends up happening?  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Weekends

I am loving these summer weekends!  Reading in bed with my favorite baking books, relaxing at home with tea, fresh farmer's market produce and of course lots of time in the sun.  The last two weekends I've gotten to catch up with some long lost friends which for me is always a reason to bake something.  With so many summer fruits in season how can you not? So look for some recipes to come this week!  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

First Orders

It's Official, I had my first Etsy order and just shipped these new designs to be sold in Home Arts!  I am so excited, Home Arts is a small boutique in Cambria and normally contains all the items on my wish list so I am thrilled that they want to feature Pillow Talk.  These two new designs will also be available in the Etsy shop within the week.  
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